Woman faces judge in case linked to alleged botched cosmetic surgeries

- A Monterey Park woman faced a federal judge for the first time Friday afternoon on charges of injecting an unknown substance -- possibly silicone -- into a woman's buttocks during cosmetic procedures which caused so much damage that the "patient'' needed a major operation to correct the problem.

Ana Bertha Diaz Hernandez, 47, was arrested late Thursday by a team that included special agents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

A criminal complaint charges Diaz with receipt of an adulterated and misbranded medical device, smuggling, and misbranding prescription drugs.

According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, a woman identified by the initials I.T. filed a complaint with the California Medical Board after seeking treatments from Diaz to enhance her buttocks.

The woman said the product Diaz had injected into her buttocks had migrated to her "back, hips and legs,'' and she had to have surgery and was ultimately hospitalized due to the injections, according to the affidavit filed
in Los Angeles federal court.

During a series of treatments that cost thousands of dollars, Diaz told I.T. that she was injecting a "natural product,'' at points claiming the injections were "lamb's fat,'' prosecutors allege.

However, after the series of treatments, the woman began to suffer pain and sought the assistance of a doctor in Colombia who specialized in reversing cosmetic procedures. The victim underwent a major surgery to remove the
substance injected into her buttocks, and she will need further medical procedures, according to the affidavit.

According to the complaint, the FDA has never approved the use of silicone for the purpose of body contouring, even when administered by a medical doctor.

"Injections of silicone for body contouring purposes, especially deep tissue injections into the buttocks of the large amounts of silicone that would be required to achieve visible buttocks augmentation and enhancement, present serious risks and dangers,'' the affidavit states.

"Included among the risks of such injections are the potential of injection into a blood vessel resulting in embolism, migration of injected silicone to other bodily regions and resultant interference with organs and
bodily systems, serious sepsis infection and infection-related disorders, silicone-filled scar tissue formations -- "granulomas'' -- necrosis, skin discoloration, immune system hyperactivity and related adverse systemic
conditions, disfigurement, discomfort, and pain,'' according to the document.

If convicted of the three charges in the complaint, Diaz would face up to 26 years in federal prison.

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